Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, in Norfolk, CT

Close view of a violin's tuning knobs. Now in full swing, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival held in Norfolk, CT, is one of the most distinguished music traditions in the country. With its humble beginnings as the Litchfield County Chorale Union, the festival has grown into a world-renowned performance venue that draws people from around the globe to the foothills of the Berkshires each year. Fortunately for guests of the Staveleigh House Bed and Breakfast this amazing music venue is just a 20 minute scenic drive from the Inn.

Ellen Battell and her husband Carl Stoeckel, founders of the original chorale union, started by hosting concerts at their estate in Norfolk in the late 1800s. Soon it became clear that due to the enormous popularity of the performances, a much larger and more acoustically-sound hall would be required. The Music Shed, designed by a New York architect, was completed in June of 1906 on the grounds of the Stoeckel estate and soon became world-famous for brilliant acoustics.

To insure that music would continue its long legacy in Norfolk, Ellen Battell left her estate in a private trust with the stipulation that it be used to host the Yale University Summer School of Music. In doing so, she created a dual-purpose for the venue to both inspire and educate emerging artists.

Concert greats such as Rachmaninoff and Sibelius, once graced the Music Shed stage. Today, a bevy of world-class artists perform in the 1200-seat auditorium throughout the 9-week season. In addition to the professional performances, however, the Yale Summer School of Music hosts musicians, singers and conductors through their Fellows Program. Fellows are selected via extremely competitive auditions, both live and recorded, held in major metropolitan cities across the US on scheduled dates. The chosen few are offered full tuition, housing and meals for the duration of the intensive workshops. These sessions, designed to expose the emerging artists to what their future professions hold in store for them, are taught by professional musicians who come to the festival to perform.

Fellows display their talents during the Emerging Artists Showcases, but may also perform alongside their mentors at Friday night concerts. For a complete round-up of what’s in store this season at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival check out their listing of free and ticketed events. Once you choose the events you wish to attend, be sure to book your room at the Staveleigh House Bed and Breakfast. Located at the southern entrance to the Berkshires, it’s your gateway to world-class cultural venues.

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